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I have not written in a long, long time, so let me get my apologies out of the way. The last week of June was taken up by my participation in IMD’s “Orchestrating Winning Performance” programme and then it was an intense three-week break followed by an even more intense re-introduction to IMD life in South Africa and then the readjustment to Lausanne.
Everyone goes to Harvard Business School eager to start their business careers. Not me, at least not yet. This summer I decided to volunteer in Africa before setting off to a full-time job.
I am writing from Johannesburg, South Africa where I’m working at a company called Lapdesk.
I first heard of Lapdesk on my first day of class at Harvard when I was handed a case study about the company. And I was confused. I was at Harvard Business School. I expected to learn about a Fortune 500 company or a famous CEO. Why were we focused on a South African company whose goal was to eradicate classroom desk shortages throughout Africa by manufacturing ergonomically designed Lapdesks made out of high quality recyclable plastic?
What is ergonomically? Good question – they’re shaped like kidney beans and have a comfortable handle.
After an inspiring discussion, combined with a 20 minute video conference with the founder, Shane Immelman, I realised why. There are 80 million children throughout Africa without a desk. That is a huge business opportunity. Lapdesk is addressing this social problem, with a dynamic private sector proposition.